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Lifesgoodhere 04-19-2009 11:21 PM

How To: Steering Box Rebuild For All Jeeps Pre-1963
This rebuild procedure applys to all MBs, CJs, Trucks, and Station Wagons 1941 through 1963.

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Rebuilding the steering box will remove play in the steering from years of wear. If you have the adjustment screw all the way in it is time to do this easy rebuild.

Remove the steering box from the frame. Remove the pitman arm using a 2 prong puller. The box is attached using 3 bolts. Remove the steering wheel and turn signal switch to drop the entire steering assembly out from the bottom of the Jeep. You may have you jack the front end up to get it out. When removing be aware of your brake lines, because they may have to be relocated to avoid then being bent.

I recommend that you clean the outside of the box thoroughly before disassembling. Your box will most likely be covered in a good thick coating of grease. I use Purple Power, a old knife (or putty knife), and rags to get this job done.

Remove the 4 bolts on the side of the box and put aside to clean later. The inside of the box will be filled with a very thick grease, about 140W. Take a rag and wipe it out the best you can. This is very messy and you might want to wear gloves if you don't like dirty hands.

Remove the steering column of you haven't already, if not it is attached with a clamp. Where this clamp was attached, a flange. Remove the flange using a 1/2 inch wrench. The bolts may be very tight. Remove and set aside, taking care not to loose the shims under it.

Now pull the sector shaft away from the worm gear through the opening that you took the cover plate off of. You may need to use a hammer on the side where the pitman arm was attached to to get it out.

Next, pull the steering shaft out. When you do this you are going to have a bunch of ball bearings in the grease, there should be 20, they might try to run away, don't loose them.

After you are able to get the steering shaft out, remove the retainer clips which hold the bearing races to the shaft.


Take a half hour or so and clean all the grease off everything. Use a rag and 2+2 Carburetor Gum Cleaner to do this.

Layout your new parts. I bought all my parts from Walcks 4 Wheel Drive. Give him your year, make and model. Tell him you want the steering box rebuild kit. This kit should include a new SECTOR SHAFT, SECTOR SHAFT OIL SEAL, GASKETS, and NEW SECTOR SHAFT BUSHINGS.

Remove the old sector shaft bushings using an old 3/4 inch socket on an extension and a hammer. Might need to use heat and candle way to do this. Install new bushings the same way you removed the old ones.

The sector shaft wears at only one spot, where it contacts the worm gear, notice the wear between the old one, and the new one.

Replace the old sector shaft seal with the new one in the kit.

Reassemble the steering box. Begin by using wheel bearing grease and coating the bearing race. Install the 10 bearings on the lower part of the worm gear first. Install the retainer clip. Do the same thing for the bearing topside of the worm gear. Be sure to use lots of grease.

Now, slide the worm gear and steering shaft into the steering box the same way as you removed it. Make sure the races seat themselves in the steering box and the steering shaft moves freely.

Use even more grease on the worm gear and install the new sector shaft into the steering box.

Make sure everything moves freely.

Install the shims on the upper part of the steering box to set the bearing preload. I found 4 shims worked well or me, play with this until you have a even amount of resistance when you turn the shaft. Use Gasket Maker on the flange to keep leaks under control.

Lastly, install the side cover on the box using the new gaskets provided in the kit. I like using gasket maker on these as well. Tighten to 20 Ft-Lbs.

Adjust the sector shaft play by adjusting the adjustment screw on the cover plate, make it just tight enough that it allows you to move the steering shaft easily and full lock to lock.

Fill the steering box with a 50:50 mix of 140w and 90w oil. Do this through the zerk fitting.


This rebuild shown in these pics was done on a Jeep Truck steering box. However this rebuild is the exact or at least very close to the same procedure for Jeep Station Wagon, CJ-2a, CJ-2b, CJ-3a, CJ-3b, CJ5, MB, M38, and M38-A1 manual steering boxes.

This entire rebuild can be done in under 2 hours with simple hand tools.

Feel free to ask questions, I will try to help the best I can.


syphonation 04-20-2009 12:58 AM

Great write up. I was just looking at one of these for my Saginaw.

jayhawkclint 04-20-2009 10:22 PM

I've personally found that Bentonite Grease works better than the gear oil.

Lifesgoodhere 04-20-2009 10:34 PM


Originally Posted by jayhawkclint (Post 7053907)
I've personally found that Bentonite Grease works better than the gear oil.

Yes I have heard that stuff is very good. However, pure grease will cause the steering to become tighter, thats why you want something in between 140w and 90w gear oil. Mixing the two is what I have read gives it just the right "gloop".

BioTex 04-21-2009 08:36 AM

I am about to start on mine. I love having you work out all the bugs first...:D

whittlecj 04-21-2009 08:47 AM

Thanks for taking the time to do the write up, I'm sure it will help many!

SuB8HaVeN 05-15-2009 09:28 AM

Thanks a million brother. I always wondered what was going on inside that little thing. Now when I tear it apart to rebuild mine I will know what I'm doing... sort of. :)

CSP 05-15-2009 11:42 AM

Just out of curiosity, what's different about the '64-71 Ross boxes?

JeepHammer 05-15-2009 03:15 PM

This thread needs to be a 'STICKY!'

BESRK 05-15-2009 03:38 PM


Originally Posted by JeepHammer (Post 7228294)
This thread needs to be a 'STICKY!'

I linked to it in the Sticky FAQ.. great writeup!

Lifesgoodhere 05-15-2009 06:43 PM


Originally Posted by CSP (Post 7227168)
Just out of curiosity, what's different about the '64-71 Ross boxes?

I think Kaiser used Ross boxes with gears in them instead of a sector shaft and work gear.

I will look it up later...Google Patents search helps look up stuff like that.

SuB8HaVeN 05-25-2009 10:39 PM

How did you remove the steering wheel? The only way I've seen online is using a large bearing puller with a bolt puller kit. It looks like I'm headed back to HF again tomorrow...

Lifesgoodhere 05-26-2009 01:11 AM


Originally Posted by SuB8HaVeN (Post 7288436)
How did you remove the steering wheel? The only way I've seen online is using a large bearing puller with a bolt puller kit. It looks like I'm headed back to HF again tomorrow...

I have seen...interesting ways of doing that. I just took a rubber mallat to mine (I damaged the wheel slightly doing that) but I need to get a new one anyway, so I didn't care. new ones go for around $100.

there are special tools for doing the job. "steering wheel puller" is what you want. They pop up on ebay every now and then. I see them in Performance Tool going for something like $70.

SuB8HaVeN 06-17-2009 10:08 PM

I decided to do a how-to on removing the steering wheel with a gear puller kit I purchased from Harbor Freight. They have the kit on sale with a coupon available in-store for $24.99 (item # 30305) and it fits the Willys steering wheels just right. This made it cake to remove the steering wheel on mine.

Lifesgoodhere 06-17-2009 11:05 PM

good video! thats the way to do it right. Good job.

BTW everyone, I am rebuilding a wagon steering box in the coming weeks, I don't think their are any differences, but we will see. That box I will be selling when I finish rebuilding it for anyone who needs or wants one and may not have the time or tools to do the rebuild themselves.

The time now is 04:15 AM.

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